Asking for a friend

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
So you’re playing with a band that is managed well, they have at least two bookings a week, creating a cash flow.
However, the vocals aren’t quite there and some song choices are questionable. You keep quiet because you’re the new guy.

do you ever bring it up?

remember, I’m asking for a friend.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I typically do.

Little things like that will nag you and can really only be improved if they're being worked on.

I try to be nice about it, and I also try to be constructive. I tend to keep my mouth shut unless I can articulate what they're doing wrong. So like if something doesn't sound right I'll pipe up with "something sounds off, can we take a second to figure out what?". If the singer isn't quite reaching the note, I'll say distinctly that they were either high or low, or specifically mention the feel or energy used/not used. If the guitar player is rushing something I'll point out a bar or two and have them go over it.

I never say nonconstructive things like "that wasn't good singing", "not even close!", "that didn't sound good!".

Also, if you're going to do that, you have to be ready. If the person you're speaking about is insecure, that will be an opening for them to turn around and blame you or pick apart little things with you. Try not to let it be argumentative, and see if you can work on whatever they mention, because it won't hurt.
 

TomR

Junior Member
I might bring it up if I knew absolutely that I was dealing with reasonable, relatively humble musicians. If they're flakes or have inflated egos, probably not. I've learned to pick my battles. And even when I'm willing to fight for something I think will add value to the band, compromise is still necessary.

If the band is booking well and the crowds are enjoying the music, perhaps your friend should simply enjoy the ride. By the way, your friend may want to record the shows and share with the rest of the band. That way, any performance concerns are documented for all to hear.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I give it a few weeks, and feel out how the others handle criticizing each other and me...depending on the vibe and plans for the performance I will eventually pipe up. Usually starting with "drummer" stuff like feel, tempo shifts etc. I can play all the instruments in the band thanks to college (not a master of them, but I teach them all so I know the theory and basic mechanics including 2 years of voice class) and I do also play bass at a high level. When things get bad with musical stuff, some times I will say "can we run that section again? I want to make sure that I know where that is going in case the sound on stage is dicey"

the song selection thing usually works itself out...either by us voting on it's readiness, or crowd reaction at shows
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I would ask your friend, wink, how long he has known the one in charge. Whatever and whenever, ask the one in charge when your friend is alone. Not in front of the band. That's common sense, but maybe your friend, wink, doesn't know it.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
I would tell your friend to say something humble and gracious like "I can sing better than that! I have my mic with me." Followed by "Man, that song SUCKS! Why are we playing THAT?!"

Your friend should have a good idea of where he\she stands with the other members after that and it should be relatively easy to know if this band is really a good fit for them....

Afterall, they weren't getting regular gigs before your friend started playing with them right?

Lol
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
However, the vocals aren’t quite there
In what sense? And what is the likely cause? If it's fatigue, well, maybe they know but are doing the best with what energy/sobriety/passion they have left.

You're a good singer, but maybe they don't know how good, yet. Being able to demonstrate ("here, let's sing it together") will help you. It's much easier to take advice from someone that can do the thing. Critique without offering a solution is probably not going to go down well.

I once asked if we could learn some additional songs, that were maybe more complicated and would require some individual prep, maybe a rehearsal. The response?

"You know the gig isn't going to pay more because we have more songs, right?"

Some musicians are just not into work.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Yup. If it was a fulltime gig and I was banking on it for rent maybe not, but I call out mistakes and offputting vocals as I would expect bandmates to tell me if I am overplaying, or missing anything myself.

Personally off vocals ruin it for me. I can't watch that. I don't want to have our fanbase or people booking shows think that too. A mishit, or flub on a guitar or bass, or even drums, is much less noticeable to the average person than an off key vocal harmony.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I might bring it up if I knew absolutely that I was dealing with reasonable, relatively humble musicians. If they're flakes or have inflated egos, probably not. I've learned to pick my battles. And even when I'm willing to fight for something I think will add value to the band, compromise is still necessary.

If the band is booking well and the crowds are enjoying the music, perhaps your friend should simply enjoy the ride. By the way, your friend may want to record the shows and share with the rest of the band. That way, any performance concerns are documented for all to hear.
Yeah, my buddy has been recording the shows and letting everybody hear them. Nobody is saying anything about the questionable harmonies yet. To him, it's obvious. But with the band it doesn't seem to be.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Shut up and play is my first thought. Vocal critiques...good luck w/dat. Song choice? Not at this juncture.
Im not sure about this. If I’m putting in the time, really want to play in a band and they are the only band on the planet, I’d say, best to keep quiet for now. If on the other hand, I’m putting in the time for something that has no prayer of sounding good and I won’t like the songs....ever... than it’s decision time. Offer some constructive input, ask how everyone feels about adding a few other songs and if the reaction is negative, then it’ll never be any better. Once should certainly not be a jerk about it, but nothing wrong with seeing how you’ll ultimately fit in before wasting time. Could be playing with a better fit band in the meantime.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
Tell "your friend" to stop complaining, because they have been the ones creating a band with 2 bookings a week and a nice cashflow and certainly not him..

And after that ask him why he decided to start with that band, if he is not liking them anyway..

Really, there is nothing worse than the new guy who all of a sudden starts complaining after he gets the job..

Unless a band specifically hires a guy to make them a better band, meaning this is spoken about before start..

But this is not sounding like thats the case..
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
Can your friend plant a heckler in the audience of one of the shows to call out the vocals? “Your harmonies stink!!”
If the crowd having a good time at shows and I was making money playing the gigs, I wouldn’t sweat it. Now, if I thought bad performances hindered my opportunity to get other gigs, then I might try and address it.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
And I'm willing to bet that the drumming in this band is poor to mediocre.
Should the other band members complain about this or quit the band?

And I'm wondering if this guy is helping the band sound better than they did with the last drummer.

.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
If they are gigging and making money then whatever they are doing is working for them. I would not say anything.
 
Top